Mohamed Latiff Mohamed (b. 1950)

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1. BIOGRAPHY

2. CRITICAL INTRODUCTION

3. SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

4. SELECTED POEMS

5. SELECTED VIDEOS


SELECTED POEMS

Di kota ini

Aku terlalu kecil di sini
walaupun telah dewasa
segala kenangan
di bumbung atap keluarga
dengan jiran tionghua
membakar mii suah
setiap senja
anak-anak mengarak tanglung
dan perempuan bercongsam

Kini aku masih kecil
dalam nostalgia yang kelam
mengingat hari-hari semalam
buruh-buruh berarak meminta keadilan
pemandu bas
memekik dengan sepanduk di tangan
dalam kempen lagu ‘bahasa kebangsaan’

Kini aku terus menafsirkan
hidup bagai sampah
di bumbung lautan
bila malam gajian
bercumbu di kelab malam
bergurau dengan pelacur
menyedut udara kotoran
asap rokok dan asap kilang

Berjalan di sini
membuatku menari kepastian
bahawa kami masih kecil
di kota kosmopolitan
yang tiada lagi irama dondang sayang
tiada lagi sorak-sorai
mendaulatkan ‘bahasa kebangsaan'

by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
from The Poetry of Singapore (1985)


In This City

I am too tiny here
although I've grown up
all memories stay
at the family's home
with a Chinese neighbour
burning joss sticks
every evening
children parading laterns
and ladies in cheongsams

Now I am still so very young
in the bleakness of nostalgia
remembering yesterdays
labourers demonstrating for justice
bus drivers
screaming with banners in their hands
in the campaign song of bahasa kebangsaan

Today I'm still defining
living as trash
on the ocean's surface
when it's pay day
enjoying myself in the night club
flirting with prostitutes
inhaling the polluted air
of factories and cigarettes

Walking along this path
makes me seek the certainty
of our insignificance
in this cosmopolitan city
where there are no melodies of dondang sayang
no more boisterous shouts
honouring bahasa kebangsaan

by Mohamed Latiff Mohamed
translated from the Malay by Azizah Malik and Rasiah Halil
from The Poetry of Singapore (1985)

 

SELECTED POEMS: "Bangsaku di hari lahirku" >